Still An Important Anniversary

December 23, 1987 will always be one of the most significant days in my life. PLEASE read An Important Anniversary, which I posted on this day last year.


OK, what do these three pictures represent?



The top is a view from my office in our previous home; the bottom two are views from my office now. I wonder if people who were born and raised here or who have lived here a long time take the views for granted. I hope I never do.


So far, about 800,000 people in the US have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That number is about 2.5 million worldwide. I know the MSM has a different take, but I think it’s amazing that in about a year since the virus was discovered in the human population, vaccines have been developed, tested and given to millions of people. (Update: the CDC just announced that the number of vaccine doses administered has surpassed one million.)


What was the best-selling car in the US in 2000 that was made by an American company? The answer is the Ford Taurus, picture below from IIHS:


See the source image


The Taurus was manufactured from October, 1985 through March, 2019 except for a brief hiatus in 2006-07. About 8.1 million cars with the Taurus “nameplate” were produced in total.

The Taurus grew out of an effort to improve manufacturing processes at Ford. My friend Dr S (a PhD in Statistics) will appreciate this: Ford adopted a quality culture employing statistical process control across all aspects of automobile design and manufacture. The Ford Taurus was the first Ford model resulting from this statistical approach to manufacture.

Even 20 years ago, however, the writing was on the wall about the future of vehicles like the Taurus. The top three selling vehicles were the Ford F-Series pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and the Ford Explorer. The F-Series sold more than twice as many units as the Taurus.

As I have written here ad infinitum, I weep at the trend towards SUVs and pickup trucks. In addition, NO ONE will ever be able to convince me that America’s march to obesity isn’t the primary reason for that trend. More than 70% of American adults are overweight and more than a third are obese. The fact that SUVs have higher profit margins than cars means that automobile manufacturers are only too happy to oblige the trend. Give me one of these any day; oh, I already have one:











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9 thoughts on “Still An Important Anniversary

  1. Having lived in Arizona from the age of four starting in 1951, for myself, I continue to marvel at the vistas, sunsets and wonderful views afforded to those of us who live here. I have seen them from the desert floor, and from the top of a 10,000+ ft. mountain, from the edge of both North and South rims of the Grand Canyon, from the Kaibab Plateau and from the shore of the Colorado River. The landscape of our State is extremely varied and takes a lifetime to see it all. You need to start traveling now. A subscription to the State travel magazine, Arizona Highways, would be helpful in picking out places to see.

    A friend of mine, an executive with the public utility for which I used to work, had as his company car, a silver Ford Taurus SHO with the dual overhead cam Yamaha V-6 engine. Knowing Don, and his habit of keeping his cars, he probably still has the Taurus. He still owns his first car, a 1961 Plymouth Valiant four door sedan with the Slant Six engine. No it is NOT stock any longer.


    1. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience, Philip.

      I suspect my wonderful wife and I will be traveling as soon as we are vaccinated, but not before then. No reason to tempt fate.


  2. In 1983-1984 I was employed by a Fortune 100 company that had a large polymer (the correct description for what everyone calls “plastics”) division. I was working for their tech services division at the time and traveled to various Ford facilities that were using our polymers for various components for the Taurus. In the initial Taurus there were just over 85 pounds of various polymers used, resulting in a weight savings of approximately 230 lbs compared to using various metals. As time went on more polymers were used but I had moved to other projects, and finally other employment, in 1989 so I’m not sure how much was used in succeeding years. When the car was released for sale by Ford, a Taurus was prominently displayed in the foyer of my employers headquarters.There were various placards around the car, pointing out the parts made from our polymers, with the weight savings noted.

    As for pickup trucks; I would estimate that less than 30% get used for their intended purpose. I know people that have a “cowboy Cadillac” and will rent a truck at Big Orange to bring home lumber and such for home projects so they won’t scratch the bed. Why did you even bother buying a truck? Myself, mine gets used quite often, mainly towing. I certainly am not going to try to tow 12-15,000 lbs with anything less than a 1ton dually so that’s what I keep around.


    1. Thanks for sharing your “connection” to the Ford Taurus. While you would know better than I, I also suspect many of those with pickup trucks and SUVs do not use them in “tough” applications.


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